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Could disruptive talent boost business in 2017?

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Describing a great candidate by the word ‘disruptive’ seems counterintuitive. But more and more businesses are now hunting for what’s called ‘disruptive talent’ because of the great contribution these employees can make to the bottom line.

So what is disruptive talent? Put simply, it’s someone who brings new ideas and drive to a business. It’s an employee who thinks and acts differently from the vast majority of workers, challenging the status quo and dismissing the usual norms and rules to come up with ways to revolutionise things.

A square peg in a round hole

Not surprisingly, these brilliant people can also be difficult to work with - and manage. They might struggle to blend into a team. They might be insensitive, stubborn and not afraid to step on colleagues’ toes. These are reasons why traditionally, they might have been side-lined as being too challenging.

Entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson classes himself as disruptive talent. Apparently if he worked for another business his line manager would have to "accept that I might not do things exactly as he'd like me to do them". He’d also request that they "look after me, respect me, and accept that I'm a square peg in a round hole."

Now Sir Branson is on a drive to encourage companies to hire disruptive talent like him.

Deviating from the norm can deliver 

Disruptive technologies and innovations are increasingly turning markets on their heads. Think about Uber’s shake up of the taxi industry or Airbnb taking on the hotel sector room by room.

In a fast-moving and uncertain climate, the smartest businesses are building teams with future-proof skills. They’re also seeing the value in recruiting creative staff with unusual minds to help them do things faster and smarter. In your organisation, that might mean someone who can spot new opportunities and upcoming trends invisible to others, or who has the skills to help streamline operations in an innovative new way.

Harnessing disruptive talent

While people with disruptive talent certainly have great potential, the trick is to engage and manage them correctly to help them reach it for your business. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Give regular feedback that’s positive as well as negative.
  • Allow them the freedom to go off on tangents if they’re passionate about an issue.
  • Think carefully about projects and groups they can work in to make the most of their talents.
  • Place them in teams with people around them who can make up for any shortcomings they have.

Avoiding an own goal

Just like when you’re looking to fill any vacancy, it’s key to screen candidates effectively. At HR GO, we work hand in hand with clients to ensure only the most suitable people are put forward for jobs.

Of course, this includes a careful look at references and work history. And if instinct tells you someone has just been plain disruptive in previous roles without bringing benefits to their employers, they may not be worth pursuing.

Having disruptive talent on your team could be a game changer, so this is one worth getting 100% right.

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